Hersey and Blanchard’s leadership model

Tip: If your student is interested in leadership, or coaching, they will enjoy discussing Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model. The link below is one of many on the internet.



Hersey and Blanchard are writers of management books, and there is a management model that carries their name. They have proposed that leaders should adapt their style according to how ready and willing the follower is to perform the required tasks (that is, their competence and motivation). They suggest that leaders can use one of four styles:

  • Telling/Directing
  • Selling/Coaching
  • Participating/Supporting
  • Delegating/Observing

The link above gives more detail – when you look at the site you might find the diagram at the top confusing (I do), but the text below is easy to understand and interesting.

The Hersey and Blanchard model is widely used in business – my students occasionally refer to it unprompted by me while we are discussing ‘leadership’ as a business topic. Senior HR people involved in talent management also know the model and use it in coaching. Students will enjoy discussing its strong points, weak points, and relevance to their own leadership style or coaching skills.